Friday March 1, 2019
For many years, I have been an enthusiast of Fiats of all ages, shapes and sizes. The sight of that police 2300 Berlina in a re-screening of After The Fox made me crave its tail-finned magnificence and one of the highlights of any 1970s “Poliziottesco” film is the sheer number of 124s in the background of the mean streets of Rome.
Other enthusiasts may favour the “Nuova 500”, the Uno, the Tipo or the Topolino and the Fiat Motor Club caters for the whole gamut of Turin products - http://www.fiatmotorclubgb.co.uk . Gavin Bushby explains:
‘There are somewhere in the region of 800 members, including the co-members. The FMC has always been a very welcoming and friendly Club. New cars or old, standard or modified, they are all welcomed (in fact we ditched any shows which were too restrictive on the display cars’ ages)’. As well as helping to run the Club, Gavin is the custodian of one of the few remaining Stradas left on the road. As he recently put it ‘most rusted away or fell apart, and almost all the bread & butter versions were scrapped long ago - only sporty Abarth versions were ever saved’.
At point, his 65 CL was in grave danger of being scrapped but today ‘it looks very much like it did in the showroom in 1982’.
Indeed, the Bushby Strada looks so splendid that it could have driven off the set of the famous commercial -
It might even change the mind of Mr. Noel Edmonds who, in a 1979 edition of Top Gear, was clearly not a fan -
Brian Stigant, a Club stalwart of many years, hopes to bring his Panda “Italia 90” ‘to do some work on. It has been sat neglected for quite a while after the last owner filled it with diesel!’. Almost all Fiat devotees will recall the Italia’s “Ciao” mascot on the C-Pillars and, best of all, the “football” hubcaps. Somewhat inevitably, ‘there’s a lot to do’ on this ultra-rate Fiat, but Gavin is sure ‘Brian will eventually sort it’.
If such a Fiat was not reason enough for visiting the Motor Club stand, Gavin also notes ‘we will have a Topolino which has been breathed on a bit, an orange 127 Sport, a beautiful Mk. 1 128 saloon - it is the 50th for the 128 this year - and something else which is undecided!’. Naturally, this writer will not claim to have any favourites, but he will say that the 127 Sport looks positively radiant with its Jaffa-like colour scheme.
Organisations such as the Fiat Motor Club represent time, effort and, yes, devotion on the part of so many volunteers. It is always a pleasure to encounter them at an event, and if you are not an enthusiast of the marque before visiting one of their displays, you almost certainly will be.